“Sister Wives” clan to challenge constitutionality of Utah’s polygamy law

posted at 9:35 pm on July 12, 2011 by Allahpundit

Who’s angrier about this? Traditional marriage activists, or gay rights activists who don’t want to see the debate about same-sex marriage dragged down the slippery slope when they’re trying to build on momentum from New York?

Nationally-known constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said the lawsuit to be filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City will not call for plural marriages to be recognized by the state. Instead, it asks for polygamy between consenting adults like his clients, former Utahn Kody Brown and his wives, to no longer be considered a crime.

“We are only challenging the right of the state to prosecute people for their private relations and demanding equal treatment with other citizens in living their lives according to their own beliefs,” Turley said in a press release. The Browns star in the TLC network show “Sister Wives.” There is no word yet on whether they will appear in a press conference scheduled for Wednesday…

The complaint to be filed Wednesday, Turley said, presents seven constitutional challenges to the state’s bigamy law. It is largely based on the right to privacy.

“In that sense, it is a challenge designed to benefit not just polygamists but all citizens who wish to live their lives according to their own values—even if those values run counter to those of the majority in the state,” said Turley, a member of the faculty at George Washington University.

If the distinction between decriminalization and state recognition seems confusing (which it did to me at first), it helps to know that Utah’s bigamy statute includes cohabiting with one person when you’re legally married to another. And in fact, this guy is only legally married to one woman; the other three are, er, “sister wives.” Basically, he’s arguing that he doesn’t care if the state recognizes them as legal spouses or not, just that he doesn’t want the cops to come knocking and lock him up when they find out. In that sense, his court claim mirrors the current legal regime in most states where gay marriage is banned but gay sex is constitutionally protected.

So, no lawsuit to legalize polygamous marriage — yet. But legal precedents have a funny way of building on each other:

The lawsuit is not demanding that states recognize polygamous marriage. Instead, the lawsuit builds on a 2003 United States Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state sodomy laws as unconstitutional intrusions on the “intimate conduct” of consenting adults. It will ask the federal courts to tell states that they cannot punish polygamists for their own “intimate conduct” so long as they are not breaking other laws, like those regarding child abuse, incest or seeking multiple marriage licenses…

The questions surrounding whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry are significantly different from those involved in criminal prosecution of multiple marriages, Ms. Pizer noted. Same-sex couples are seeking merely to participate in the existing system of family law for married couples, she said, while “you’d have to restructure the family law system in a pretty fundamental way” to recognize polygamy.

Professor Turley called the one-thing-leads-to-another arguments “a bit of a constitutional canard,” and argued that removing criminal penalties for polygamy “will take society nowhere in particular.”

Ah, but they’re not asking to change family law, just to take polygamy out of the penal code. The family law case will be the next lawsuit. FYI, the Supreme Court already upheld laws against polygamy — 130 years ago, rejecting a Mormon challenge based on the Free Exercise Clause. So there’s precedent here if SCOTUS wants it when it eventually hears a case along these lines. Two important footnotes, though. One: The Court’s language in Lawrence v. Texas, a decision authored by Anthony Kennedy, was famously broad in its implications (a point noted by Scalia in dissent at the time), so there’s no telling whether that earlier precedent is still good law. And second, Lawrence itself overruled a much more recent precedent in Bowers v. Hardwick to arrive at its holding. So yeah, there’s quite a fair chance that the Brown clan might pull this off.

Exit question: Speaking of people who aren’t eager to watch this court/media battle play out, how excited do you think Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are right now?

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It’s a red herring, for the reasons spelled out above. If you want to argue gay marriage is bad, then just argue gay marriage is bad. Don’t tell me gay marriage is bad because, well, you think (without evidence) that it will lead to something else that is bad.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:17 PM

That’s the problem with you liberals….you don’t think ahead. I think it is prudent for people to consider the consequences of legislation. Nothing wrong with saying redefining to include homosexuals might lead to X. It’s called critical thinking.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:20 PM

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:10 PM

“slippery slope” arguments are not necessary fallacies. In law, one thing happening does often make another more likely. That’s what precedent is all about. And “civil arrangements” includes unmarried living arrangements. Utah passed a law it thought necessary in response to a specific problem. Other states don’t have this law. If they don’t like it, they should move.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Except that’s exactly what the hell is happening right before our eyes. We have polygamists capitalizing on gay marriage in New York to achieve exactly the same recognition of deviancy.

KingGold on July 12, 2011 at 10:20 PM

How so? Do you know that the Sister Wives clan is filing this suit in response to the legalization of gay marriage in NY? Did George Reynolds file suit in response to the legalization of gay marriage in NY?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Except that’s exactly what the hell is happening right before our eyes. We have polygamists capitalizing on gay marriage in New York to achieve exactly the same recognition of deviancy.

KingGold on July 12, 2011 at 10:20 PM

You are arguing with a tiresome commenter on her most tiresome point. You must have better things to do.

pedestrian on July 12, 2011 at 10:24 PM

That’s the problem with you liberals….you don’t think ahead. I think it is prudent for people to consider the consequences of legislation. Nothing wrong with saying redefining to include homosexuals might lead to X. It’s called critical thinking.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:20 PM

No, they do think ahead, and often the goal is exactly what they profess not to want. Alinsky was an advocate of lying if necessary, as are most demagogues.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:24 PM

That’s the problem with you liberals….you don’t think ahead. I think it is prudent for people to consider the consequences of legislation. Nothing wrong with saying redefining to include homosexuals might lead to X. It’s called critical thinking.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:20 PM

It’s not critical thinking to say passing X might lead to Y. It’s only critical thinking if you explain why doing X will lead to Y. I haven’t seen anyone do so. Understand?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:26 PM

I’m sure while the debate over abortion was happening over 30 years ago people were making slippery slopes arguments. I’m sure every one of those slippery slope arguments have come true….including abortion on demand.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

It was fun watching Sarah Palin’s Alaska with ads to the following it being Sister Wives. Both on TLC

Government need not be in someones bed or someone wallet or use someone else wallet to get in someone bedroom. The state need not bless any union just allow the contract between consenting parties to happen even if those parties are many people of many sexes.

Large intrusive Conservative government is just as bad as a large intrusive Liberal government.

tjexcite on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

“slippery slope” arguments are not necessary fallacies

That’s sort of true. But the argument people here are making is a fallacy, unless they can explain why passing gay marriage will make polygamy more likely.

In law, one thing happening does often make another more likely. That’s what precedent is all about.
alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:23 PM

That’s (at least, ideally) true, but that’s different from what I’m (and I think others) are discussing.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

You are arguing with a tiresome commenter on her most tiresome point. You must have better things to do.

pedestrian on July 12, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Good point. I’m having far more fun on the Romney thread pointing out that Gary Johnson is running on little other than a “Let’s All Smoke Weed” platform.

KingGold on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Bestiality’s next.

OhioCoastie on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Ted Torgerson on July 12, 2011 at 10:04 PM

How does polygamy harm society?

I ask this every time this discussion comes up and I have yet to hear someone actually answer it. Why do you think polygamy should be illegal? Presumably if you’re going to argue that one of the dangers of legalizing gay marriage is allowing the possibility of legalizing polygamy you must think that polygamy is actually dangerous. Why? I probably have the same objections.

Just in case I don’t, here are a few problems I have with polygamy:

-Polygamy makes divorce settlements less fair to the party that doesn’t earn an income, thus coercing (usually) women to stick with a marriage that may not be working out.

-Polygamous cultures have been shown to create abusive environments.

-Polygamy creates an alternative to divorce where (usually) a man can simply marry another woman. How could adultery ever be a justification for divorce if a man can just marry the mistress, too?

How does homosexuality benefit society?

It doesn’t benefit society any more than heterosexuality does. It just doesn’t do any harm.

How does polygamy affect current marriages?

See above, re: marrying a mistress instead divorcing a wife.

How does homosexuality not affect current marriages?

I said gay marriage doesn’t affect current marriages. Homosexuality probably does affect some marriages. Just ask Larry Craig’s wife. Allowing gay marriage actually reduces this impact, though, so maybe you should support it.

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Interspecies “marriage” is next.

OhioCoastie on July 12, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Bestiality’s next.

OhioCoastie on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

ha.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:29 PM

It’s only critical thinking if you explain why doing X will lead to Y. I haven’t seen anyone do so. Understand?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Disclaimer: I’m not against gay marriage – state should have no involvement. But you are tiresome. The very topic of this thread answers your above question. next.

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 10:29 PM

I fail to see why, if Bob can marry Bob why Sam can’t marry Betty, Jean and Sue.
All is equal right?

ORconservative on July 12, 2011 at 10:30 PM

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:26 PM

…are you being wilfully blind? Terry asked someone to explain why not. She didn’t say “might,” you did.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:30 PM

It’s not critical thinking to say passing X might lead to Y. It’s only critical thinking if you explain why doing X will lead to Y. I haven’t seen anyone do so. Understand?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Here’s the argument: If you are gonna redefine marriage to include homosexuals because it makes you feel so tolerant and good……other people are going to exploit that do-goodery.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:31 PM

…are you being wilfully blind? Terry asked someone to explain why not. She didn’t say “might,” you did.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:30 PM

That’s the problem with you liberals….you don’t think ahead. I think it is prudent for people to consider the consequences of legislation. Nothing wrong with saying redefining to include homosexuals might lead to X. It’s called critical thinking.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:20 PM

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Disclaimer: I’m not against gay marriage – state should have no involvement. But you are tiresome. The very topic of this thread answers your above question. next.

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 10:29 PM

How so? Do you know that the Sister Wives clan is filing this suit in response to the legalization of gay marriage in NY? Did George Reynolds file suit in response to the legalization of gay marriage in NY?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:24 PM

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Here’s the argument: If you are gonna redefine marriage to include homosexuals because it makes you feel so tolerant and good……other people are going to exploit that do-goodery.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Can you try to flesh that out a little more?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Exit answer: Just wait til the Islamists with their multiple wives start knocking on the court house door.

locomotivebreath1901 on July 12, 2011 at 10:36 PM

My Aunt Lula Bell has a cat named Tiger that she’d like to leave her house and barn too after she dies should they get married to avoid tax consequences for the estate?

My Daughter-in-Law Wynonna has a doorknob that she has always slept with since she was a little girl. She calls him Earl. She’s talked about him being worth more than Jimbo her husband (my son). If she divorced Jimbo would she be able to marry Earl? I mean, who’s ta say if it’s wrong or not?

My new neice Moeshafrenequa is from Sudan and she brought a goat named Shandara over from Africa. They even go to Krogers together. She calls him “my hubby”. Could they get married in California? She said lots of people in her Apartment complex are into “open relationships and partnerships”. Is it wrong for her to marry Shandara? Who says?

Thank you Politicians for standing so firm on traditional marriage, Sodom and Gommorah are clearly coming into view.

PappyD61 on July 12, 2011 at 10:36 PM

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Okay I missed that. It’s an unsupported assertion, but that’s not the antithesis of critical thinking. And there have been several arguments in this thread supporting the assertion. Here’s mine: When you define the reason for marriage downward merely to “love”, then you lose all rationale for limiting it. People can love anything. So there’s no logical reason to limit to two people, or unrelated people, or unmarried people, or of age people, etc. After all, they love each other and have the right to order their personal lives as they see fit.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Achilles! You smart SOB.

Limerick on July 12, 2011 at 10:37 PM

I sounded the warning last year:


The Upcoming Polygamy Debate-Brace Yourselves


I love it when I am right!

papa_giorgio on July 12, 2011 at 10:38 PM

And in fact, this guy is only legally married to one woman; the other three are, er, “sister wives.”

One wonders if this guy would approve of the “sister wives” having “brother husbands”.

rukiddingme on July 12, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Can you try to flesh that out a little more?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Whenever you hear gay rights activists talk about gay marriage they use their personal stories. “I’ve known a loving gay couple that have been together for X number of years. Why shouldn’t they get married? EQUALITY” It’s all emotional appeal. Why would you be surprise that a polygamist couple would make the same superficial, manipulative appeal?

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Liberals have to be for this, right?

It’s about freedom, it’s about choice. Anybody can hook up with anybody else to become a family.

That’s what liberals always say, so they had better get behind polygamy.

Really Right on July 12, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Why are some groups more equal than others?

El_Terrible on July 12, 2011 at 10:41 PM

How so? Do you know that the Sister Wives clan is filing this suit in response to the legalization of gay marriage in NY? Did George Reynolds file suit in response to the legalization of gay marriage in NY?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:24 PM

hmmm, googled some interesting quotes:

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said the country’s ongoing legal wrangling over same-sex marriage will necessarily grow to include plural marriage — quite possibly centered around this case.

The stars of the worlds first polygamist reality show, Sister Wives, claim to support gay marriage. When they were asked about it, dad Kody said he didn’t think that the “state should be involved in marriage.” His second wife Janelle added “Every adult should have the right to marry and love who they want.” Given the Mormon church’s stance on gay marriage, it’s nice to hear that they have a more progressive take on it. This shows they’re not hypocrites – sort of.

Kody Brown, the man with four Sister Wives, supports marriage equality for gays for the same reason he supports marriage equality for polygamists: Who gives a crap? “Every adult should have the right to marry and love who they want,” adds wife Janelle

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 10:42 PM

Bestiality’s next.

OhioCoastie on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

No. The left will pick up where they left off in the 60s.

DFCtomm on July 12, 2011 at 10:43 PM

Why are some groups more equal than others?

El_Terrible on July 12, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Because liberals love ‘group politics’.

darwin-t on July 12, 2011 at 10:44 PM

Perfect word for crr6. Tiresome.
I would also suggest tedious.

angryed on July 12, 2011 at 10:45 PM

I don’t know if you know this, but Adam is our God and Heavenly Father, and the father of Jesus Christ. This proves it.

iamse7en on July 12, 2011 at 10:49 PM

Unrolling the schema that defines “marriage” to additions makes it possible to argue that other additions such as poligiamy are as valid as homosexuality. Realize marriage is more than simply living together; it involves societal and legal representation.

Let’s unroll that ball; do polygamies count as a marriage under taxes? Can the salaries of six people count as a couple? If they divorce who has custody? How does a divorce happen? How do you split property? If there are six does that mean all of them don’t have to testify against each other in a trial?

IMO, there is logical validation in the polygamy argument in relation to the homosexual argument. The problem is there are real legal issues here, that once that camel gets their nose under the tent, it’s all coming down.

This is what’s meant as a slippery slope.

itsspideyman on July 12, 2011 at 10:49 PM

crr6,

Please write the marriage law for us, the marriage law that you want to see be the law of the land. Who can marry who, and who can’t?

I am not asking for you to do a dissertation on what critical thinking is.

What do you want the law of the land to be?

Really Right on July 12, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Okay I missed that. It’s an unsupported assertion, but that’s not the antithesis of critical thinking. And there have been several arguments in this thread supporting the assertion. Here’s mine: When you define the reason for marriage downward merely to “love”, then you lose all rationale for limiting it. People can love anything. So there’s no logical reason to limit to two people, or unrelated people, or unmarried people, or of age people, etc. After all, they love each other and have the right to order their personal lives as they see fit.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:36 PM

You’re conflating the two different arguments I referred to earlier in the thread. Just because the logic of A applies equally to B, doesn’t mean that B will necessarily follow. I’m not sure how else to explain it to you. There’s a sort-of famous law review on it that I might try to dig up….

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM

Disclaimer: I’m not against gay marriage – state should have no involvement. But you are tiresome.

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 10:29 PM

It’s a somewhat tedious point, but it’s still worthwhile to make it, because people like terryann always act like they’re making some sort of great logical point when they bring up polygamy. It’s just a red herring.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Whenever you hear gay rights activists talk about gay marriage they use their personal stories. “I’ve known a loving gay couple that have been together for X number of years. Why shouldn’t they get married? EQUALITY” It’s all emotional appeal. Why would you be surprise that a polygamist couple would make the same superficial, manipulative appeal?

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Um, yeah. Could you please try to make your posts in the form of an actual argument?

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:54 PM

It’s just a red herring.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Might say it’s a fishy argument, no?

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 12, 2011 at 10:54 PM

The private relationships of consenting adults is none of the government’s business.

woodNfish on July 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Just because the logic of A applies equally to B, doesn’t mean that B will necessarily follow.
crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM

Yes, as I said upthread, if it would be unconstitutional not to apply the logic equally to B … which has been the argument for gay marriage … and can now be the argument for plural marriage. There is no room for legislatures to act “inconsistently” as you put it, if doing so would be unconstitutional.

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Leave them alone. Loving multiple women and having children is not a crime. If conservatives fight to make criminals of polygamists for living with and loving children they love, yet they don’t make criminals of those who father children with women they don’t care about or live with, then their morals are backwards. Leave them alone. It’s none of your damn business.

iamse7en on July 12, 2011 at 10:56 PM

hmmm, googled some interesting quotes:

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 10:42 PM

Those are interesting, but they don’t answer my questions.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:56 PM

Just because the logic of A applies equally to B, doesn’t mean that B will necessarily follow.

Yes, in law it often does, because of precedent and the intrinsic desire of Americans to have what the other guy has. A law review article is unlikely to persuade me on this, but I’d read it.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:56 PM

It’s just a red herring.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM

How can you calling a red herring on a story about a polygamist couple making the SAME arguments gay marriage advocates make? You really don’t get it.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM

You’re conflating the two different arguments I referred to earlier in the thread. Just because the logic of A applies equally to B, doesn’t mean that B will necessarily follow. I’m not sure how else to explain it to you. There’s a sort-of famous law review on it that I might try to dig up….

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM

If one plants a seed [A] the chances of it becoming a plant [B] are very good. Any reasonable person could come to this conclusion.
You are going to suck as an attorney.

darwin-t on July 12, 2011 at 10:58 PM

-Polygamy makes divorce settlements less fair to the party that doesn’t earn an income, thus coercing (usually) women to stick with a marriage that may not be working out.

This already occurs in a normal marriage and in relationships were people are simply living together.

-Polygamous cultures have been shown to create abusive environments.

This already occurs as well. I would contend it happens more so in unmarried families with kids.

-Polygamy creates an alternative to divorce where (usually) a man can simply marry another woman. How could adultery ever be a justification for divorce if a man can just marry the mistress, too?

You do realize in many cases you don’t really have to have a justification for divorce.

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

CW on July 12, 2011 at 10:59 PM

Those are interesting, but they don’t answer my questions.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:56 PM

But I don’t have to answer your nitpicky questions about the NY law in particular; the quotes are indicative of the rationale behind their lawsuit and show that the same motivations and reasoning apply.

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 10:59 PM

Yes, as I said upthread, if it would be unconstitutional not to apply the logic equally to B … which has been the argument for gay marriage …

That’s only been a prominent argument as of very, very recently (pretty much since Olsen and Boies got involved). And a substantial portion of the gay community is very wary of making that argument.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:59 PM

Who needs the Dream Act when an enterprising citizen near you can bring in an unlimited number of immigrants for citizenship through marriage? Just for a few tidy bucks… coming to a craigslist ad near you soon.
.

.
Yes, I’m aware that citizenship through marriage can be complex. But I wanted to throw my aggravating content into tonights thread too.

BruinEric on July 12, 2011 at 11:00 PM

How can you calling a red herring on a story about a polygamist couple making the SAME arguments gay marriage advocates make? You really don’t get it.

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM

She just wants it to be a red herring.She will just say it over and over.

Gotta love these types who belittle those who want to define marriage then go on to define it themselves. They hate the fact that those that warned this would happen were right. Like me.

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:01 PM

Red herrin Red herring Red herring

Don’t you guys get it

/sarc

Crr you’re a dimwit.

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:02 PM

That’s only been a prominent argument as of very, very recently (pretty much since Olsen and Boies got involved). And a substantial portion of the gay community is very wary of making that argument.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 10:59 PM

now, you’re just being deliberately disingenuous.

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 11:03 PM

Yes, in law it often does, because of precedent and the intrinsic desire of Americans to have what the other guy has. A law review article is unlikely to persuade me on this, but I’d read it.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 10:56 PM

I’m not talking about the legal context (although yes, I realize that a lawsuit is the topic of this thread). I was responding more generally to terryann’s (and others’) point that passing gay marriage legislatively will necessarily led to polygamy.

Oh, and the Law Review article I was referring to can be found at 99 Harv. L. Rev. 361.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:03 PM

CW on July 12, 2011 at 10:59 PM

I just want to be clear, are you in favor of legalizing polygamy?

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 11:03 PM

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM
CW on July 12, 2011 at 10:59 PM

I’m having trouble discerning who I should reply to. However: You say social ills exist. This is true. The argument is that such social ills would be worse with polygamy as a common practice. It would soon lose its bound to religion and just become a popular thing to do for certain men who have little intention of supporting all the wives and children they collect. The goal of marriage is to create a safe and stable environment for raising children. The fact it doesn’t always work out that way does not negate the intent or the fact that more often than not it does work out that way; children with two married parents do better on a wide range of measures. Children sharing a father with another family receive less attention from the father and the relationship is intrinsically unequal to the multiple wives who must compete for their husbands’ favor and attention. It’s not a good plan unless you live in a society where women belong to men, and we do not.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 11:04 PM

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:03 PM

Wow. 1985. That’s a bit outdated, don’t you think? Social mores were much more uniform back then.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM

I just want to be clear, are you in favor of legalizing polygamy?

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 11:03 PM

Would that change the fact that your points were without merit?

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM

. It’s not a good plan unless you live in a society where women belong to men, and we do not.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 11:04 PM

Don’t be preaching to me. Wrong guy.

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Wow. 1985. That’s a bit outdated, don’t you think? Social mores were much more uniform back then.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM

The article has nothing to do with gay marriage or polygamy (specifically). It’s just about slippery slope arguments. You should check it out, it’s a good read.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:08 PM

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:03 PM

Are you for or against polygamists marrying?

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 11:09 PM

If it is wrong for many on the right to define marriage it is wrong for those on the left as well. The reality is that if you are for gay marriage you should support anyone’s right to marry. Is this not a human rights issue? Or do only the pro-gay marriage types get to use that canard?

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:10 PM

This is is no slippery slope argument dingbat. It’s done slipped. Sheesh you’re slowwww.

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:11 PM

I think the question is pretty straightforward to gay marriage advocates: If it is unconstitutional to limit marriage to one man and one woman, under what consistent interpretation of the constitution can it be constitutional to prohibit marriage between one man and two women? Or one woman and two men? If it is unconstitutional to prohibit marriage between two men, how is it constitutional to prohibit marriage among three men? What is it about the number, or the sexes, that provides a constitutionally “compelling interest” to the state?

jdp629 on July 12, 2011 at 11:12 PM

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:08 PM

From the free excerpt that Lexis allowed me:

In Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, Justice Story noted that “[i]t is always a doubtful course, to argue against the use or existence of a power, from the possibility of its abuse.”

This is absolutely contrary to how I conceive of government authority. It necessarily must be limited due to the potential for abuse, because the first act of abuse will always be to remove our power to limit authority. History has shown this, it is human nature.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 11:13 PM

If it is wrong for many on the right to define marriage it is wrong for those on the left as well.

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:10 PM

So then nobody has the authority to define marriage and should STFU once and for all? In exactly what dimension do you think that’s going to happen?

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 12, 2011 at 11:14 PM

If you support gay marriage you have to support polygamy. Although the way I see this it is just the tip of the iceberg. Muslims are polygamous as well, right? Sure seems to me like this sister wives guy is probably just the first of many.
Welcome to the bed you made.

ORconservative on July 12, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Would that change the fact that your points were without merit?

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM

I’m not conceding that, I’m just curious. We could go back all night on whether polygamy is ok. Just realize that if you’re going to be on the “yay polygamy” side of that argument, it sort of undermines any argument you might want to make that you’re afraid gay marriage will lead to something you apparently have no problem with.

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 11:15 PM

I don’t know if you know this, but Adam is our God and Heavenly Father, and the father of Jesus Christ. This proves it.

iamse7en on July 12, 2011 at 10:49 PM

how does this add anything to the discussion at hand?

idiot

dirksilver on July 12, 2011 at 11:15 PM

If you support gay marriage you have to support polygamy. Although the way I see this it is just the tip of the iceberg. Muslims are polygamous as well, right? Sure seems to me like this sister wives guy is probably just the first of many.
Welcome to the bed you made.

ORconservative on July 12, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Sigh. I’m sure the advocates of abortion 30 years were saying only women who victims of rape and incest were getting abortion. Look what abortion has become :-(

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 11:16 PM

This is absolutely contrary to how I conceive of government authority. It necessarily must be limited due to the potential for abuse, because the first act of abuse will always be to remove our power to limit authority. History has shown this, it is human nature.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 11:13 PM

I don’t think Story was saying we shouldn’t limit government power based on a potential for abuse. He was saying that one can’t argue that power doesn’t exist simply because of the possibility of abuse. In other words, it’s silly to argue “Congress doesn’t have the power to declare war because it’s possible they could randomly decide to invade Canada tomorrow.”

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:17 PM

terryannonline on July 12, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Probably, but using abortion, now the advocates are perfectly happy to abort anything they can get away with. Marriage in 30 years ought to be a trip.

ORconservative on July 12, 2011 at 11:19 PM

The group filing the suit is one of the FLDS outfits. They oppose gay marriage. They’re basing their suit on a case that didn’t even consider the constitutionality of gay marriage. Hmmm. Is it possible they’re trying to take one for the team here?

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 11:19 PM

Is it possible they’re trying to take one for the team here?

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 11:19 PM

It’s possible they may have been ordered to.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 12, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Mitt Romney can’t be happy about this. Even if it is a branch off of the mormon church, the word “mormon” gets tossed around in this, and it can’t be good.

Besides. Romney’s own Great Grandparents were Polygamists.

portlandon on July 12, 2011 at 11:23 PM

It’s just about slippery slope arguments. You should check it out, it’s a good read.

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:08 PM

I’ll bet this one is better:
http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/slippery.htm

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 11:24 PM

This is is no slippery slope argument dingbat. It’s done slipped. Sheesh you’re slowwww.

CW on July 12, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Cousin Carlene actually would like to marry her Slippery Slope.

She has a pond that has a big hill on it and she’s been rolling down that hill all her life. She says it gives her more joy than being married to Cooter for these 30 years. I’m thinking since they live in Northern California that she might just divorce Cooter and marry that Slope. She calls hit “Fabio”.

It’s okay if Carlene does that right? I mean who are you to tells her she can’t marry whatever she wants? She’s been cheatin’ with Fabio fer years.

PappyD61 on July 12, 2011 at 11:24 PM

it’s silly to argue “Congress doesn’t have the power to declare war because it’s possible they could randomly decide to invade Canada tomorrow.”

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:17 PM

I think it’s more “Congress shouldn’t have the power to declare war because it’s possible they could randomly decide to invade Canada tomorrow.” I’d call that a valid argument against giving Congress the power to declare war. But the potential for abuse should be weighed against the necessity of having the power; i.e., “someone should be able to declare war, so which party has the fewest incentives to do so in a rash manner?”.

But we’re getting pretty far afield here, so let’s leave it for another day.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 11:25 PM

I’ll bet this one is better:
http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/slippery.htm

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 11:24 PM

Maybe!

crr6 on July 12, 2011 at 11:27 PM

Firefly_76 on July 12, 2011 at 11:24 PM

I’m bookmarking that, that is fantastic.

alwaysfiredup on July 12, 2011 at 11:28 PM

It’s possible they may have been ordered to.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 12, 2011 at 11:22 PM

You mean by their church leaders? Yeah, I could see that.

From what I understand of the situation in Utah, they pretty much leave the polygamists alone unless there’s a pattern of systemic abuse (like the child bride situations that often arise in polygamist communities). So why would they even bother bringing the case up, knowing that they’re basically safe as long as they behave themselves? And why would they bring it up now, when they could have done it at any time after the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas decision?

This has to be the weirdest political convergence I’ve ever seen. A pro-polygamy group suing to provide cover for anti-gay marriage groups by by validating anti-polygamy fears.

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 11:32 PM

Well, the slippery slope stuff is interesting, but I’ll put my more direct question again: If marriage cannot constitutionally be limited to one man and one woman, on what constitutional basis can it be prohibited to one man and two (or more) women? Anyone?

jdp629 on July 12, 2011 at 11:35 PM

Being a true liberal (of the classical type), I don’t much care about polygamy. But, I have to say, it sure sounds like a lot of work! Several times the dates to remember; several times the flowers; several times the coming home early from work; several times the garbage to take out; several times the coaching of the baseball; several times the coming-up-with-the-cute-nicknames; several times the trying-to-understand-her-emotional-state; several times the stuff to fix around the house; several times the writing-of-the-songs; several times the cost (can’t forget that); etc. ad infinitum. One is more than enough work for me!! I don’t know they do it!!

My friends, every so often my wife (the only one I have) goes out for a girls’ night, and I have to say, it’s . . . kinda peaceful! Kids asleep . . . I can watch a movie I want – no “Celebrity Ghost Stories”, no “Bachelorette” – whew! I can put on the headphones, plug in my guitar to Logic and rock out!

While I love my wife to death – and will until my death – one is plenty for me!! If it’s a mutually agreeable arrangement – more power to them.

Pablo Snooze on July 12, 2011 at 11:48 PM

Well, the slippery slope stuff is interesting, but I’ll put my more direct question again: If marriage cannot constitutionally be limited to one man and one woman, on what constitutional basis can it be prohibited to one man and two (or more) women? Anyone?

jdp629 on July 12, 2011 at 11:35 PM

THIS!

PappyD61 on July 12, 2011 at 11:48 PM

What did you expect after the rug was pulled out of defining marriage between a a man and woman. There is no longer any reason to restrict to any combination. How about one man and three wives or vice versa? Or how about polygamist homosexuals with two men and two women? Following the fatalistic logic of gay advocates that they cannot but engage in homosexual behavior, then polygamists cannot but engage in polygamy or any other bizarre combination. If human sexuality is not a choice, then no expression of it is a choice.

Blue Collar Todd on July 13, 2011 at 12:08 AM

This is just the Loving (~and Loving and Loving and Loving) Case for the modern day!

Who is the State to tell who someone can love?

Or how many?

Or what age?

Or what familial relationship?

Or what species?

Or what biological condition (the dead need lovin’ too!)?

profitsbeard on July 13, 2011 at 12:10 AM

You can’t say you are for marriage equality for certain people only.

That’s what many of us have said all along, and the reason marriage should be left alone. Call your union something else.

Moesart on July 13, 2011 at 12:21 AM

My whole stance on the gay marriage has always been that the argument FOR gay marriage, then by default, also leads to the same argument FOR polygamy. After all, once you redefine marriage away from ONE man and ONE woman, then why are the rights of TWO men or TWO women greater than the rights of individuals who want plural marriage? They aren’t, not really.

However, while Cody has managed to somehow financially provide for his initial 3 wives, once he married the 4th wife and “came out of the plural marriage closet”, it has negatively impacted their family, financially. The adults in this plural marriage lost jobs, and then they had to move and now have to support 4 rental homes. They used to have a large family compound for the 3 wives and rented a house down the street once the 4th wife came into the picture. Wife #4 also brought 4 or 5 of her own kids into this situation.

Now, this “family” situation has suffered some economic setbacks through their own actions. First, they came out of the closet, thus it affected their good standing at work. While that could be considered their own legal actions, we all know it is hard and time consuming to pursue wrongful terminations, especially in right to work and job at will type of states. Now they have moved, and have to find new jobs and support FOUR households.

Where can the state and the taxpayers draw the line and not have to pay welfare to people who make life choices that they can’t afford? If you try to draw the line here, then you can go back upstream and say that any parents who can’t afford kids should not have them.

I don’t see how we can unwind marriage from ONE man and ONE woman without creating a situation that the taxpayers will be on the hook for lifestyle choices. I am not being that articulate about my point here, but I am trying to say why should taxpayers help feed Cody’s kids, when he clearly probably took on more than he could handle. I am not saying they are on the dole yet, but based on his profession and his wives professions, I don’t see where they all will get jobs in this economy to pay for 4 households. Only 2 of the wives worked before they moved.

This situation is called the unintended consequences of dismantling an institution of 5000+ years, called marriage. It was originally set up to protect wives and children and provide a safe environment for children to grow up in. Now, we have opened pandora’s box here and how does society protect the kids, as well as the taxpayers’ money?

karenhasfreedom on July 13, 2011 at 12:34 AM

As long as its relations between consenting adults, I honestly don’t see why there should be any criminality involved. I don’t see why the state is involved in marriage anyway. We are NOT GOVERNMENT PROPERTY.

KMC1 on July 13, 2011 at 12:35 AM

Because like children, animals cannot consent. You guys do understand this distinction right? Its pretty paramount in our justice system.

thphilli on July 12, 2011 at 9:59 PM

You are right. We haven’t degenerated that far. Consenting adults everyone. That means homosexuals and polygamists.

Oh, and incest. You know, put your cousin/father/sister/mother/brother/uncle/aunt/grandpa/grandma/son/daughter to the test. In fact, put them all to the test. Whey everyone in the family can marry each other after the kids grow up.

Pattosensei on July 13, 2011 at 12:48 AM

How can you be for gay marriage and not polygamy? Aren’t he people involved all consenting adults with the same rights?

I support both. It would be better if government got out of marriage, but that’s not gonna happen.

Free Constitution on July 13, 2011 at 12:49 AM

Basically the other wives are concubines. Many countries (such as Mexico) grant certain legal status to concubines. Basically, what the guy is asking for is to remove the stigma associated with concubinage. Historically, this stigma is rather new (only in the past few hundred years of human history). Western civilization has accepted concubines since biblical times until only very recently.

crosspatch on July 13, 2011 at 1:01 AM

I remember reading somewhere, when the Sister Wives show first went on the air, that the polygamist community had recommended this family because they were an “appealing” group. The community wanted to present this family as the “face” of polygamy with the intention of going after anti-polygamy laws.

And here we are. Thank you, TLC.

NavyMom on July 13, 2011 at 1:06 AM

I watch their show…they just want to be left alone. They had to uproot their kids lives and flee to Nevada because of a state investigation into their family. If there are no laws against men cheating on their wives, why was this family being investigated and the father possibly arrested just because he has children with multiple women, supports all his wives and children, and plays an active role in their lives? If he didn’t claim to be spiritually married to 3 of them, but had simply cheated on his wife with them, then he would be in no legal danger and the state would probably be supporting the 15 kids that aren’t his by his legal wife. Leave ‘em alone!

tikvah on July 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM

Marriage is not a right protected under the constitution.

Marriage is a religious institution designed to protect women and children and to provide for the proper raising of children to be upright members of society.

The government, our government, recognizes its important benefit to society and therefore supports it in civil law.

The state’s have the right and the proper authority to regulate and limit the conditions of marriage. There are numerous laws regarding marriage i.e. age restrictions, restrictions against marrying a first cousin, restrictions on the number of people in a marriage and of course, limiting it to one man and one woman.

The benefits of marriage for men, women and children have been tested over time and shown to be empirical.

If two men or two women or any number and combination of such thereof wish to live together, there is currently no law which says they cannot.

If they wish to adopt a civil contract, they are able to in many states. In this contract they can will to their partner(s)all of their possessions and set up rules for the division of their property should they split up. The only thing that cannot be inherited by a same sex partner is social security.

Jvette on July 13, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Right now, the 3 latter sister wives of Cody could not make a claim to his social security either.

This is very complicated. A whole social pandora’s box opened up just because gays wanted to “marry”, rather than settle for civil unions.

karenhasfreedom on July 13, 2011 at 1:58 AM

There are so many silly analogies going on in this thread…..gees….

Marriage is one man + one woman. Anything else is blasphemy and an attack on judo-christian culture.

That said, if multiple adults wish to co-habitate, why is it any of anyones business???

Bunch of silly busy bodies is what it sounds like to me. Makes me think of the good ‘ol days; “she’s a witch!!”

KMC1 on July 13, 2011 at 2:06 AM

It doesn’t benefit society any more than heterosexuality does. It just doesn’t do any harm.

RightOFLeft on July 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Well, except that whole continuing the species thing.

Ronnie on July 13, 2011 at 3:46 AM

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